I’ve been smiling a lot this week, and it’s all thanks to Lucy Mangan, and her new book ‘Bookworm: a memoir of childhood reading’.
I’d thought that as a child, I was bookworm too. Compared with Lucy Mangan I wasn’t even trying. She resented the time wasted in eating a meal, and as for playing with friends – she never even considered doing that.
Yes, I can remember that Christmas when I was 10, when I was given 19, yes NINETEEN paperbacks, and had finished the first one before we’d even cut into the Christmas cake.
I can remember the row when my father, getting up for a night-time toddle to the bathroom, found me happily reading my way through another installment of ‘Jennings and Darbishire‘ or ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe‘. Did it never occur to my parents to wonder how I could have got through a book a day any other way?
Lucy’s mother must be a few years older than me. Lucy herself is only a couple of years older than Tom, and was brought up only a a mile or two away from where he lives now.
Because she was such a redoubtable reader, Lucy Mangan not only read the books that I enjoyed reading with Tom, Ellie and Emily, and now with grandchildren too: but she also discovered the treasures familiar to me as a child of the 1950’s. I know she wrote this book just for me.
I was born before the Golden Age of the picture book. Luckily my children weren’t. ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’? Judith Kerr’s ‘Mog’ books? Shirley Hughes? Quentin Blake? How had I managed without them?
I’ve wallowed this week in memories of ‘My Naughty Little Sister‘; ‘The Church Mice‘; John Burningham; Raymond Briggs; Roald Dahl; ‘The Secret Garden‘ and all those 19th century classics by – largely female – American authors.
You couldn’t keep the smile off my face if you tried.
This post is in response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge, ‘Smile’. It’s a total cop out on my part. I don’t think my photo of a book jacket is exactly rising to the occasion, do you?
Click on any image to view full size.